Commitment is the name of the game when you are trying to make a monumental change. When it comes to learning how to tone your body, this idea does not change in the slightest.
You have to stay focused, do the right things, and know what kind of game plan to follow. If the latter is the missing link for you, worry not, because you are about to find out what you need to do to tone up your muscles.
What is muscle tone?
Muscle tone is the term used to describe the state of your muscles when they are at rest. You can test your muscle tone by firstly feeling the increase in size of your muscle when it’s flexed. Now relax that same muscle. The small amount of firmness you can still feel when that same muscle is resting is your muscle tone.
The more you work a muscle, the more toned it will become, and assuming you’re not carrying an excessive amount of fat, the better your skin above it will appear. Good muscle tone is about reducing fat to improve definition of your muscles and is often improved by cutting cycles. Not only does this make you look cut it’s also vital for health, strength and a well polished appearance, and here we detail exactly how to tone muscles well.
Lift heavy weights
There is a myth floating around the bodybuilding community that you should use light weights to get a toned body. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Getting toned up simply means getting an abundance of defined muscles without excessive fat.
That means that you do need to lift heavy weights. Those little foofoo weights that are often fancily colored aren’t going to do a thing for you. Except make you look like a novice. And you don’t want that to happen.
Execute proper form
Form is everything. It doesn’t matter if you use light weights or heavy weights – if you have bad form, you’ll reap the consequences by not fully taxing your muscles. Then what? Well, you wasted your time in the gym and you also set yourself up for muscle imbalances and injuries.
Save all that drama for your mama! She can’t help you in the gym anyway, so you’d best get to doing things right.
Proper form involves moving weights through a full range of motion, never using momentum, and squeezing your muscles forcefully as you contract them. That last part is very important, yet often overlooked.
Let’s take a biceps curl into consideration. This is one of the most poorly executed exercises on the planet. People just love to get additional motion going and throw common sense to the wind. But you’re going to learn how to build muscle tone the right way by following this example…
Let’s use dumbbells for ease. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and hold the weights at your sides with your palms facing in. Keep your abs tight, back straight and gaze fixed forward.
Lift the dumbbells by bending your elbows and twist your wrists as you go up. Stop when your palms face your chest and squeeze your biceps for a full second. Slowly lower the weights all the way back down until your arms are fully extended and repeat.
Keep your upper arms still and pressed to your sides throughout the entire exercise.
Don’t neglect the importance of cardio
Remember, having muscle tone means being defined with the absence of fat. The tried and true way to do this is by performing cardio in conjunction with weight training. A good approach is to do cardio after your weight training sessions for a short time frame or to do it on non-weight training days.
In either case, your best bet is intervals. This involves alternating your intensity from low to high. When you follow this approach, you will burn more fat while you train and also boost your metabolism. This will cause you to burn more fat while at rest and enable you to get toned even faster.
Work out on a regular basis
Your muscles need to be stimulated to grow. But you need to find a happy medium where you’ll get a favorable result without overworking them. A good approach when it comes to building muscle tone is to do a circuit-style workout that targets all of your major muscle groups. This causes you to develop lean muscle and it really bodes well for definition.
A circuit is a series of exercises performed back to back with short rest breaks or no rest at all if you are in good enough shape to withstand this type of rigor. You can perform any number of exercises with this protocol. The main thing is that you hit all of your major muscle groups.
The end goal is to work out three days a week on alternating days. You can backfill three other days with cardio. This process will have a profound effect on your body and you will see results in less than four weeks.
Follow a sensible diet
Sensible does not mean eating buttered popcorn and donuts right before you hop into bed. That’s called stupid! You need to follow a plan that consists of a daily dose of foods that will benefit your muscle gains, speed your recoveries, and give you energy while you work out. If you want a complete muscle building guide take a look at the 101 of how to build muscle that we published last December.
Focus on lean meats, eggs, fish, beans, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Throw in some tofu and tempeh if you’re vegan and you’ll be rock solid with your diet.
As for caloric intake, you don’t have to make it complicated. Simply eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.
Wrapping up on how to tone muscles
Now you know how to build muscle tone without looking like a dweeb. Stick to the basic principles laid out for you and things will be perfect. If you happen to have a bad day, that’s totally fine. Just get back on the wagon and forget about it. The days that don’t come easy are the ones that make a man or woman out of you.